Ikem Ekwonu and 6 NFL Draft prospects the NY Jets must avoid

NY Jets, Ikem Ekwonu
NY Jets, Ikem Ekwonu / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages
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NY Jets, Ikem Ekwonu
NY Jets, Ikem Ekwonu / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

2 and 1. The NY Jets must avoid drafting Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal

We're going to lump these final two players into one entry as the same rationale is used for both. Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal are both fantastic prospects in their own right.

A couple of weeks ago, both players (specifically Ekwonu) made sense as early targets for the Jets. That was before the Jets went out and signed Pro Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson in free agency.

All of a sudden, the Jets' offensive line now has five starters at five positions with no obvious hole. There simply wouldn't be any room for another offensive lineman, let alone one you'd have to spend a top-five pick on.

The original thought process was simple. You can always have a player like Ekwonu or Neal play guard as a rookie before moving out to tackle with George Fant's contract up at the end of the year. That plan doesn't work now with both guard spots filled.

Drafting Ekwonu or Neal would leave the Jets in a no-win situation. They'd either have to sit their fourth overall pick on the bench, sit a player like Fant or Becton on the bench, or trade one of them.

Fant was the team's best offensive lineman last year — they're not trading him. Becton, for all of his question marks, is still a franchise cornerstone and it wouldn't make any sense to trade him while his value is at an all-time low.

Next. NY Jets address biggest needs in post-free agency 7-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft. dark

The Jets need to draft players who can make a difference early in their careers as well as down the line. They need upgrades at major positions of need. Ekwonu and Neal (or any offensive tackle, for that matter) just don't fit that criteria.

Drafting a tackle in the first round just doesn't make sense for the Jets.